Burn out is typically related to work and the stress that comes from an intense working environment or situation. Exhaustion, depression, irritability, cynicism and depersonalisation are strong signs that you may be experiencing burn out. They are also indicators that it is time to stop, practice some serious self-care and perhaps even seek help and support in the form of therapy.
So, what are the signs of burn out?
1. Burn Out Causes You To Feel Constantly Tired Or Exhausted
Do you frequently feel so fatigued that you feel as though you could spend a week in bed? Does it take all the energy you can muster to get out of bed in the morning? Does your day at work seem to drag on and on and on? Do you find yourself turning down social situations because you simply can’t bear the thought of being around other humans?
If any of these sound familiar, it could be that you are experiencing burn out. Burn out goes hand in hand with emotional and physical exhaustion and it can lead to more serious conditions including anxiety and depression.
2. Burn Out Can Lead You To Dwell On The Negative
`Another indicator of burnout is cynicism, or disinterest in the task at hand, especially when it is a task you previously enjoyed doing.You may even feel resentment towards your job or aspects of it, which is linked to exhaustion.
3. You Have Feelings Of Inadequacy Or Incompetence
The overwhelm that often comes with burn out can quickly make the sufferer feel inadequate or incompetent, question their skills and affect their motivation. If you are feeling any of these, it’s so important to listen to your inner self talk. Are you beating yourself up? Do you imagine your employer or your peers think you paean’t capable of completing your job in a satisfactory manner? This can fast become a vicious circle, where the feelings of inadequacy lead to further negative self talk, which causes more intense self-doubt, and so on.
4. You Appear To be Depressed
Extensive research has shown that burn out and depression are very closely linked, but rather than being the same thing, may actually be overlap. Among many studies, one research project in 2017 indicated an overlap between burnout and depression in relation to their antecedents. Myriad studies suggest that burn out is mainly job-related, while depression is a whole-life thing that can include your job. So, they are connected, and several other studies have shown that if you’re prone to depression, you’re more vulnerable to burnout.
You Hate Your Job
While it’s not uncommon for folk to dislike their job or at times even hate it, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are suffering burn out. Oftentimes, a simple break or vacation can bring fresh perspective. However, studies have shown that longterm job dissatisfaction is one of several indicators of burnout and can in fact lead to poor mental health. If this sounds like you, do not allow yourself to become stuck. Seek help and support to either improve conditions at work, or start pounding the (virtual) pavement looking for a job that brings out the best in you and one that you look forward to turning up at five days a week.
You Find Yourself Extremely Irritable
Becoming irritable at work, with your colleagues, clients or customers, or indeed the simple day-to-day aspects of your job are all classic signs of burn out. It’s when this irritation turns to outright anger that you know you’re truly suffering burn out and may need to seek therapy or support to deal with these issues.
You Have Trouble Concentrating
Forgetfulness, distraction and issues with concentration are all signs of potential burnout. In fact, there’s even been a phrase coined to cover an element of this indicator of burn out – ‘ZOOM Fatigue”. An unsurprising but alarming sign of the times we currently live in, ZOOM fatigue goes hand in hand with disillusionment and a loss of idealism.
Insomnia Becomes A Regular Occurrence
While burn out and insomnia haven’t been definitively linked, there is some suggestion that one leads to the other and create another vicious circle. There are enough studies around that stress how important quality sleep is for our physical, emotional and mental health, so if you’ve got even an inkling that insomnia is affecting you (burnout or otherwise), feel free to reach out.
How To Handle Burn Out
- Burn Out is closely related to overwhelm. Recognise if you have too much on your plate and try to spread some responsibility around your co-workers. If that isn’t possible, learn to prioritise. When looking at your to-do list each day, tackle the hardest task first. It will make the rest of the day’s work seem easier. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get through the entire list. Add it to tomorrow’s list and learn to edit your daily to-do list to remove some of the pressure and stress in your day.
- Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. If you know you don’t have time or the ability to complete a task that is being asked of you, or if it is out of your job description, be firm in your response. If your employer repeatedly insists, reach out to HR.
- Practice extreme self care. Put yourself first. Eat well, exercise regularly, rest, pamper yourself. If you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, you’ll be no use to anyone else.
- Embrace meditation. There are myriad meditation apps that you can download to deal with all aspects of life’s stress. A simple scroll through the App Store will help you find the mindfulness you’re seeking.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. There’s absolutely no shame in seeking and having regular therapy. Even if you don’t have an issue you wish to deal with, simply running through the day/weeks events with an impartial third party can help keep clarity in your life and help prevent burn out. Please do reach out, I’m here to help.